Now that the Sochi Olympics have concluded, it's time to send out a big congratulations to VJW Alum Alex Carpenter who represented Team USA on the women's ice hockey team.
Carpenter - who spent her mite through bantam years playing for the Valley Jr Warriors - was a key player for Team USA. She was one of the team's top point getters as she posted four goals and one assist in five games.
During the gold medal contest against Canada, Carpenter scored her team's second goal in the third period.
Learn more about Alex and the special bond that she shares with her father Bob Carpenter in the story below that was published by USA Today.
Bob Carpenter was a longtime Valley Jr Warrior coach. Alex's brother Bobo is another VJW alum who is currently a centerpiece for the Austin Prep varsity hockey team and a Boston University commit.
Congratulations again to Alex on representing Team USA!
USA's Alex Carpenter had an NHL education
By Kelly Whiteside, USA TODAY Sports
Posted: February 17, 2014
SOCHI, Russia - This is what happens when you bring your daughter to work.
As a player then a coach for New
Jersey Devils, Bobby Carpenter would pick up his daughter, Alex, from
school and then head straight to the rink.
"Usually I would go everywhere with my dad. We were very, very close. We still are," Alex says.
At the Devils' practice rink, she
would borrow Brian Gionta's skates, if she forgot hers. Or maybe fire a
few slap shots at the greatest goalie of all time.
"I would shoot on Marty Brodeur, but couldn't get anything by him," Alex says.
If you grow up on the ice taking shots at Marty Brodeur, a Swedish goaltender named Valentina probably isn't too intimidating.
Six minutes into the Olympic
semifinal game vs. Sweden on Monday, Carpenter didn't flinch. She
one-timed her shot, scoring a goal she has made thousands of times,
growing up on NHL ice and on a makeshift rink in her backyard.
Bobby wasn't in Shayba Arena to see
the goal, but as usual, he expected to talk to her soon after the U.S.
team swept by Sweden 6-1 to advance to Thursday's gold medal game
Mom Julie is in the stands, as is
younger brother, Brendan, 16, but her dad is at the family's suburban
Boston home with her oldest brother, Bobo, 17, who is busy with his own
hockey team. Though dad and daughter video chat daily, Bobby isn't
passing on hockey tips.
"He's just saying 'eat well, rest up
and enjoy the experience' at this point," she says, minutes after the
rout. "He's been giving me advice all my life. This is the point I
wanted, my teammates wanted to get to. We know what to do at this
What the U.S team would like to do is
win their first gold medal since 1998, the year the sport debuted at
the Winter Games. Canada has taken gold in the past three Olympics,
while the Americans have gone home with two silvers (2002, 2010) and a
At 19, Carpenter wasn't a part of
those teams, nor does she feel the weight of those near-misses. Even
so, coming up short in Vancouver is still felt, even though 10 of the
team's 21 players are Olympic rookies. "It drives us every day, but
it's not the main focal point," she says.
Bobby never formally taught his kids the game's finer points; they learned by osmosis.
"Everywhere we went, we built a rink in the backyard," Bobby says of the plywood rinks illuminated with floodlights.
Alex would play with her brothers and her dad would join so the kids could have even teams.
"Dad, Bobo quit again," she would complain when her fed-up brother would take his stick and leave the ice.
"Well, let him touch the puck then," Bobby would say.
These days, Alex is much better at sharing and playing both ends of the ice.
"Alex has strong hands, she has a quick release shot, she's deadly
around the nets," coach Katey Stone says. "She's learned how to play all
three zones this year. She's become so strong and defensively
For Carpenter, for every female hockey
player here, the Olympics are their NHL — the highest level they can
reach. Carpenter always believed she would someday be here.
"I was so focused on getting to this point,
I missed a lot of things in high school, events, hanging out with
friends because I'd be at the rink from three to 10 at night," says
Alex, who now plays for Boston College.
Her dad never got the chance to play in the
Olympics because NHL players didn't begin competing in the Games until
1998, the final season of his 18-year playing career. Still, he won
the Stanley Cup as a player, and then two more Cups as a coach. He now
works in player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"I'm so proud of her," he says. "It's overwhelming. It's happened so fast."
Just the other day, it seems, all the Carpenters and Brodeurs were vacationing together at Disney World.
"For 10 days, with all the kids under six
years old. Craziest vacation ever," says Bobby. Then he sounds the
lament of all parents. "So fast."
His little girl also has one lament.
"Wishing Bobby C could've made the trip out
to Sochi," she tweeted after the game. "definitely know he's ready to
watch Thursday night with @carpy_16 (her brother) though #missthem"